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Performing Background Checks? Make Sure You Follow the Law

Performing Background Checks? Make Sure You Follow the Law

Author: Cole Cummins/Thursday, January 7, 2016/Categories: 2016 Winter


The ability to hire and promote good, reliable employees is vital to an organization’s operations. Background checks from a third party provider are one of the tools you can use to review potential new hires and employees being considered for promotion.  

 When performing a background check, it is important to make sure you are following the guidelines set out in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).  Here are some steps required by the FCRA when obtaining a background check in the course of employment decisions:

1.       Get signed permission on a form that is not part of the standard employment application.

2.       Use the background check for employment purposes only and keep it confidential.

3.       If the background check could negatively affect the employment decision, you must send notification to the applicant and allow a reasonable time for response.

4.       If you then decide not to hire/promote the applicant based on the background check, you must notify the applicant.

5.       Keep all reports confidential and in a separate file from the personnel file.

6.       Comply with federal privacy rules by shredding documents prior to disposal.


If you have any questions about background checks or the Fair Credit Reporting Act, please contact Cole Cummins, APEI Loss Control Manager at 907-523-9470 or



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